COVID-19 relief bill: Majority of owner-operators favor direct payment, small-biz assistance

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What should Congress’ top priority be for the COVID-19 relief/stimulus bill under way?

Combine the top two choices of owner-operator respondents to recent polling shown here and 5 in 10 truckers rank direct taxpayer payments and extension/bolstering of small-biz lending programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and other SBA assistance as tops for prioritizing in Congress. | SOURCE: OverdriveOnline.com pollCombine the top two choices of owner-operator respondents to recent polling shown here and 5 in 10 truckers rank direct taxpayer payments and extension/bolstering of small-biz lending programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and other SBA assistance as tops for prioritizing in Congress. | SOURCE: OverdriveOnline.com poll

After nearly six months of off-and-on back and forth talks between lawmakers in both Houses of Congress, post-election rancor and so much else nearing the end of 2020, Congress appeared as of Tuesday, Dec. 15, to be nearing a deal on a COVID relief bill.

Nearly 1 in every five respondents to Overdrive polling (19% — full results above) preferred no further special spending by the government.

“RC,” commenting under the poll, noted the “government can’t keep just printing money and giving it away. We are already too far down the road on debt.”

Most owner-operators, however, anchored behind support for working people as their top priority for any eventual legislation. A combined 64% of respondents weighed in behind either another round of equitable direct payments to tax-paying Americans (31%), further funding for small-business lending programs (20%), or more federal support for state-run unemployment-assistance programs (13%).

A two-bill approach appeared to be emerging, with the main package including both support for small business and the unemployed, yet potential direct payments remained outside the purview of the package pending further negotiations. Democratic Party-sought state/local government support, given collapsing budgets, and Republican Party-sought protections from COVID liability for employers were two hot-button items the parties were nowhere near agreeing on that had been segregated from talks into their own distinct corner for possible other legislation.

Richard Davis said all of it — referring to the choices mentioned in the poll — “needs to be done.”

Congress reportedly was working toward potentially drafting and passing a package to send to the President before end of day Friday.

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